We ask industry leaders five questions about their working lives. This month we talk to Robert Foye about Accolade Wines. This article first appeared in Food & Drink Business April 2021.
1. Tell us about your current role.
I am the global CEO of Accolade Wines, one of the largest and oldest wine companies in the world. Since 1836 with the Houghton brand in Western Australia and the first grapes crushed at the Hardys winery in 1853, we have grown into a leading global supplier of luxury, premium, consumer and commercial wines.
We have more than 1,400 employees, several processing and bottling plants and we market and sell more than 70 brands of wine around the world.
Our portfolio ranges from renowned wine brands including Hardys, Grant Burge, St Hallett and Banrock Station to modern wine brands shaking up the global landscape including House of Arras, Jam Shed, De Luca (Italian), Mud House ( New Zealand) and Anakena (Chilean).
I am responsible, along with our team of employees, for all aspects of sourcing, production, marketing, sales and distribution of our brands globally.
2. What has been your greatest accomplishment to date?
Build one of the best teams in the wine and liquor industry globally in a very short time (one year). Our team is made up of world-class wine, spirits and consumer products capabilities and people, across our regions and functions.
We pride ourselves on knowing the industry incredibly well, being customer and consumer focused, going faster than our competition, and not being afraid to take risks or fail. We are building a culture of optimistic discontent. We are very optimistic and collaborative about the future, but we know that we can always do more and do better.
3. What was your biggest mistake and what did you learn?
My biggest mistake in the past has been not realizing that a successful business is about people and continuous improvement, not being successful with unique projects or at a specific time.
When you create the right team and the right culture, you encourage continuous innovation and improvement, and you learn from your failures. The results are exponential.
4. What would you say to your 25 year old?
Make the most of each day of the trip because it goes by way too fast.
5. What goal do you want to achieve?
I want Accolade Wines to be the best place to work in the global wine and alcohol industry.
We have experienced incredible growth over the past 12 months and continue to have strong growth ambitions around the world.
This makes Accolade one of the most exciting places to work around. We are constantly working on new product development, sustainability initiatives, and creative in-store and online executions to deliver our incredible wine brands to our client partners and the end consumer.